Fears grow for Flintshire village left without support

Reporter:

Matt Jones

CONCERNS are growing over a Flintshire village which has been left out of a scheme to improve living conditions and prospects for residents.

Gwespyr has yet to be included in the Communities First programme, despite a report three years ago which said the omission was based on a “flawed submission”.

But the Welsh Assembly Government has refused to look again at the issue, saying a full investigation has already been carried out.

During a debate at the Senedd in Cardiff North Wales, AM Mark Isherwood said the Welsh Audit Office had highlighted the error.

He said: “It produced a report acknowledging the omission of Gwespyr from Communities First.

“It concluded the most appropriate organisation to address the impact of the errors in the submission was the Welsh Assembly Government, which assessed and approved the original submission and included data that, in the words of the auditor, were flawed and inappropriate.”

Mr Isherwood said he wanted to know why the village still had not been included in the programme and called for an investigation.

Carl Sargeant, Shadow Social Justice Minister and AM for Alyn and Deeside, said the matter had been investigated and the WAG did not consider it worthwhile to reopen the issue.

Alan Caddick, a resident of the village and chairman of the village hall association, said: “It is a very long-running sore. We are a deprived area. There is a lack of opportunities. We don’t even get the local travelling council office. It goes everywhere else.”

Meanwhile, Gwespyr Village Hall was recently taken over by a committee running it as a charity and it is hoped the venue can be set up as a “social focal point”.

The hall, which was built in 1952, has been out of use since 2002.

Mr Caddick said: “It has been a long wait to get it back up and running and it is our aim to revive interest in the hall.

“It is important as a social focal point. We have no school or church or chapel or any shops. We have nothing in the village.

“It could be vital in bringing the village forward.”

The committee is now looking to secure funding to start refurbishment work.

Mr Caddick said: “We are now starting to look for funding to refurbish the hall and get equipment and disabled facilities, which is high on our agenda. Funds are not existent.

“People have lost interest in the hall and we are trying to revive that interest. It is going to be difficult but we are going to have a go.”

For more information call 01745 853042.

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